Keep things simple when starting with native advertising

The Native Advertising Institute interviewed him when he was a speaker at Native Advertising DAYS.



Below are highlights from the interview which have been slightly edited for clarity.


Native fits the mindset of digital users

“It’s a great opportunity to employ native advertising into one’s content marketing campaigns because it allows a different kind of access to the users.

Being a push combination tool, native advertising is different from, for example, search advertising. When users are searching, they are already stating something they are looking for so they are not in a “pull mode”.

And native advertising is not social media advertising. The targeting is not necessarily based on the user’s personal characteristics, but it relates strongly to the content around the native advertising ad. Therefore, the users are already in the mood to be suggested which content to consume, to be entertained by, kill time with, spend time on, or maybe to get inspired by.

They are in the right mode and are very approachable at that moment. That’s a very nice mindset that advertisers can tap into. If it’s done the right way, with the right kind of content tapping into where the user is at the moment, then it’s a great opportunity to use native advertising.

The opportunities in native advertising is an addition to what you already have in your digital marketing toolset. And it’s something well worth trying.

Especially now, as we see that some of the long-established advertising mechanisms like display banner ads are not working as well anymore. Therefore, native advertising could be a great way to compensate those old opportunities – like display ads – that are being fought against by the users and ad blockers and instead offer something that fits the mindset of the digital user these days a lot better.”

RELATED: From content creation to A/B testing: Native advertising tips to brands


Start with something simple

“I would always suggest something really really simple when people should make first attempts to do native advertising.

The advertiser should think of content that’s helpful and that has something to do with their products. Then they can publish it either on their own owned properties – like a website – which is a great way to do cross-channel communication. Or you can post the content on a publisher’s website.

Then, it’s time to try different distribution networks that can drive traffic to the content and then measure what works how. What kind of ads in the different networks work, how about KPIs? Are the people from each network reading content as much as they should? And what are they doing after they read the content? What can you see in their behavior?

So I’d really try to suggest to keep things simple in the beginning to have some good first experiences with native advertising.”

RELATED: When everybody’s doing perfect content, distribution is king


Don’t try out everything at once

“A mistake in native advertising would be to try to explain someone new to native advertising the whole playing field that exists in the industry at the same time. Because it’s overwhelming.

Don’t confuse people. Explain a facet of the truth, but clearly state that that’s not the whole story. That would make sense to start with.

Sometimes the clients want to understand everything and that is just really confusing and time-consuming. It’s not actually efficient. And that could drive something that is promising — that would actually make sense from a marketing communication perspective — it could make it inefficient which will obviously not be a success. And then people won’t try it again or be willing to do some trial and error.”

RELATED: Seven essentials for a successful native advertising campaign


People are confused 

“I think native advertising is a great opportunity. And I think that people are still holding back from native advertising because sometimes it’s confusing for them. There are a lot of opportunities, which can sometimes be confusing. Also, the vocabulary being used is still very individual to the person or company talking about it. So I think we need more clarity about what’s actually what.

We need to differentiate who’s offering what. What do we want to call it and how can it be used in the context? What does an entire campaign look like, and how do we integrate these things with one another?

I think, once that has been overcome, native advertising can be a super legitimate additional marketing channel and marketing communication tool.

It could fit very well into the portfolio of the already learned marketing channels like search advertising and social media advertising.

The growth and significance of the whole channel depend on how able the native advertising industry will be to set standards, make things understandable for new people and make it more accessible to people who can’t spend a whole day researching.

If we make things simple so they’re approachable, a lot of people will try native advertising. We will have to showcase how to use native advertising best and then the industry will experience growth.” 

RELATED: How brands and publishers can create a sustainable native ecosystem


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